Thursday, December 7, 2017

Composition Week: Fill the Frame

Today, it's a technique near and dear to my heart. We're going to call it "Fill the Frame" for lack of a better name, but basically the idea is to fill the frame with your subject. Let's look at some examples of the technique.

Locomotive by Mark Becwar on

NS9237 by Mark Becwar on

In these two examples the subject completely fills most of the frame. This helps us in a couple of ways. First, it makes these locomotives look larger than life. They are big and imposing, and filling the frame with them makes that apparent. Second, it allows the details to stand out from the object. We are far enough back that the subject is identifiable, but we're close enough that the small details really start to pop out. Third, because of the way that they're framed, we're seeing the subject in a way that we don't ordinarily get to see. It forces us to think about the scale of the object in a different way.

In our next example we take a slightly different tack, rather than overfilling the frame to make our subject seem larger, we use the filled frame to force our viewer to look at the textures and details.

Concrete and Broken Glass by Mark Becwar on

The abandoned cement plant in this image isn't framed in a way to make it imposing, it's framed to show the different textures. By framing this way, we can see the different textures-- from the rust at the top left, to the broken windows at the bottom left, over to the cinder blocks on the right. The relatively uniform background color helps to unify all the different textures. If it was framed to show the entire building, then the texture and color would be lost. (The viewer sees the picture, their says 'abandoned building' and then doesn't see the interesting shapes and textures.)

Tomorrow, for the last day of composition week, we're going to look at the opposite technique to the fill the frame technique. I hope you'll stick around.

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